The mural-size painting Looking at 1998 San Francisco from the Top of 1925 addresses the constant state of flux in San Francisco’s South of Market area. Rigo 98, now known as Rigo 23, takes as his vantage point the top of the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. (now Pacific Bell) building, a grand art deco skyscraper designed by Timothy Pflueger. As Rigo points out, its completion in 1925 offered a brand-new vista of San Francisco. The painting, made for SFMOMA's SECA Art Award exhibition, presents a panoramic view of the city that features the backside of the museum rather than its iconic face.
As a document of a locale that is constantly changing, Rigo's piece was out of date even as it was being painted. "The mural was a bit of a time trap," he later reflected, "like a situation waiting to be changed by its context." At the same time, it serves to preserve a fleeting moment in San Francisco's history, in this case, its immediate past. Like Rigo's mural One Tree, which points to a humble living thing that would not normally command interest, this project, too, seeks to slow us down and take a look at where we are, and ultimately who we are, with fresh eyes.